UPDATE: New Satellite Imagery Captures Fires and Extensive Forest Loss Within Tesso Nilo National Park

By Susan Minnemeyer and Octavia Payne

Newly acquired Digital Globe satellite imagery captures the full extent of Tesso Nilo National Park during the recent fire outbreak from late May to mid-July 2015. Recent rainfall has greatly reduced the extent of the fires, but three hotspots were still visible as of today.

Explore in detail on Global Forest Watch Fires.

The fires indicate that illegal encroachment into the area continues, and to date, more than 47,000 hectares have been converted for oil palm and other agricultural production, despite Tesso Nilo’s national park status. The extent of conversion of the forest inside Tesso Nilo is readily apparent from the imagery captured this week—only one large area of undisturbed forest remains, in the southeast section of the park.

Fires do not occur naturally within Indonesia’s forests. Rather, nearly all are set by people, using fire as a cheaper means of clearing forest land than mechanical equipment. Such fires are illegal in Indonesia, except when used by smallholders to clear less than 2 hectares of land.

Regularly updated ultra-high resolution imagery makes the extent of fire damage inside the park undeniable.


WV02_5CNew ultra-high resolution imagery over Tesso Nilo National Park. Images were captured by Digital Globe’s WorldView-2 satellite on July 9, 2015.

Visit the GFW Fires website to explore Tesso Nilo National Park in detail.

Click on the “sign up for alerts” button in the upper right corner of the map to continue following this issue and receive email or SMS notifications of fire alerts in Tesso Nilo.


BANNER PHOTO: New ultra-high resolution imagery over Tesso Nilo National Park captured by Digital Globe’s WorldView-2 satellite on July 9, 2015.

Having it All: Indonesia Can Produce Palm Oil, Protect Forests and Reap Profits

By Fred Stolle, Kemen Austin, Octavia Payne

This article originally appeared on Insights.

Indonesia has two big goals for 2020 that might seem contradictory: Reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 26 percent, and boost production of several major agricultural commodities, includingdoubling palm oil production. With agriculture being the single biggest driver of deforestation globally and in Indonesia, many are asking the question: How can the country pull this off?

new study from Duke University and WRI addresses this very question. It finds that in Indonesia’s largest palm oil producing region, it’s possible to fully protect the most valuable forests and reduce emissions by 35 percent while only modestly reducing profits.

Choosing its Future: 5 Policies for Kalimantan’s Palm Oil

Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil in the world, with the island of Kalimantan housing roughly one-third of its oil palm plantations. Palm oil production on Kalimantan is estimated to have contributed 3-12 percent of national GHG emissions from 2000-2010, so interventions in the region could contribute substantially to national GHG reduction targets.

kalimantan-oil-palmClick to enlarge.

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Zooming In: Forest Fires Blaze in Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park

By Susan MinnemeyerTjokorda Nirarta “Koni” SamadhiJames Anderson and Mimi Gong

Silakan membaca post ini di Bahasa Indonesia.

This post originally appeared on Insights.

New satellite imagery reveals a rash of fires burning in what was once one of the world’s most biologically rich forests—Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park.

The recent outbreak of fires began May 29, 2015, according to NASA fire alerts on the Global Forest Watch Fires (GFW Fires) platform, and alerts have have cropped up daily since then, with a total of 185 fires alerts. Of these, 47 of these have been high-confidence fire alerts, more likely to be associated with forest burning during land clearing for agriculture.

What’s more troubling is that these are just the latest fires to rip through the protected area, which is home to endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants, among other species. Despite legal designation as a protected area, the park actually has a lengthy history with agricultural encroachment and other threats.

Palm Oil Development and Tesso Nilo Park

Tesso Nilo was first established as a National Park in 2004. The boundaries were expanded in 2009, and the park is one of the last large areas of lowland tropical rainforest in Indonesia.

But encroachment into the park by thousands of settlers has been rampant. Since 2000, more than 47,000 hectares ( 116,000 acres) of tree cover has been cleared, making way for palm oil plantations and other development. Tesso Nilo’s inclusion in Indonesia’s national Forest Moratorium has failed to protect the park, and the destruction continues.

Fires are not a natural occurrence in Indonesian forests and rarely occur unless they are ignited by people. Although it is illegal to set fires, except for areas used for smallholder agriculture, burning is widely used across Riau Province in conjunction with the conversion of forests to palm oil or wood fiber plantations as a cheaper alternative to mechanical clearing. All fires within protected areas are illegal.

A major outbreak of fires in the park occurred during 2013. The illegal encroachment into the park and lack of enforcement of legal protection have been ongoing issues for years, and were even featured in the premiere of Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously series, highlighting the role of deforestation in global climate change. Reports in the Indonesian press on July 3rd indicate that three individuals were arrested in connection with the recent fires in Tesso Nilo, yet active fires have continued burning through at least July 9th.


Fires within Tesso Nilo National Park, Indonesia.

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Kebakaran Hutan Merambah Taman Nasional Tesso Nilo di Indonesia

By Susan Minnemeyer, Tjokorda Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi, James Anderson and Mimi Gong

Read this post in English here

Citra satelit terbaru mengungkap adanya sekelompok titik kebakaran dalam kawasan yang tadinya merupakan salah satu hutan dunia dengan keanekaragaman hayati terkaya—Taman Nasional Tesso Nilo di Indonesia.

Rentetan kebakaran baru-baru ini dimulai sejak 29 Mei 2015, berdasarkan peringatan titik api NASA pada platform Global Forest Watch Fires (GFW Fires), dan sejak saat itu peringatan terus bermunculan setiap hari, dengan jumlah total 185 peringatan. Dari angka ini, 47 merupakan peringatan titik api dengan tingkat keyakinan tinggi, sehingga kemungkinan hubungannya dengan pembakaran hutan untuk pembersihan lahan bagi agrikultur lebih besar.

Yang patut diperhatikan adalah bahwa ini hanya merupakan kebakaran terbaru di kawasan yang dilindungi, rumah bagi harimau dan gajah sumatera, di antara spesies-spesies lain yang terancam punah. Terlepas dari pengklasifikasian kawasan secara legal sebagai area lindung, Taman Nasional ini sebenarnya memiliki sejarah panjang terkait dengan pembalakkan untuk agrikultur serta ancaman-ancaman lainnya.

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Kebakaran Hutan di Indonesia kembali Menyala, Mengancam Kawasan yang Dilindungi dan Lahan Gambut

Read this post in English here.

Kabut asap ekstrem yang disebabkan oleh kebakaran hutan dan semak di Sumatera and Kalimantan, Indonesia merupakan masalah tidak berkesudahan yang memengaruhi kualitas hidup and ekonomi masyarakat lokal maupun negara tetangga. Seiringan dengan mendekatnya musim kering, angkat titik api mulai meningkat, terutama di provinsi Riau, Sumatera yang rawan terbakar. Kebakaran tersebut sudah mulai mengancam beberapa ekosistem yang kaya akan keanekaragaman hayati serta tinggi karbon di negara ini—hutan lindung dan lahan gambut.

Menurut data Titik Api Aktif NASA pada platform Global Forest Watch Fires, setengah dari peringatan titik api di provinsi Riau terjadi di kawasan-kawasan yang dilindungi atau wilayah moratorium hutan di mana perkembangan baru dilarang menurut kebijakan nasional. Sekitar 38 persen dari peringatan titik api Riau terdapat pada lokasi lahan gambut yang kaya akan stok karbon dan dapat melepaskan gas rumah kaca ke dalam atmosfer yang semakin memicu perubahan iklim global.

 Peringatan titik api di Kawasan yang Dilindungi, Riau, Indonesia

24 Juni – 1 Juli 2015

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